Human-elephant conflict claim 812 lives in Assam in 10 years

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Guwahati, Jul 14 (PTI) Altogether 812 people have died due to human-elephant conflict in Assam during the last 10 years, Environment and Forests Minister Parimal Suklabaidya said in the state assembly on Wednesday.

The highest number of 115 deaths were reported from Udalguri district, followed by 103 in Sonitpur, 74 in Goalpara, and 51 in Darrang, the minister said in reply to a question by BJP MLA Terash Gowala.

The remaining fatalities were reported from various other districts.

The state government has taken several measures to mitigate human-animal conflict, Suklabaidya said.

The measures include setting up of a committee which provides information about the movement of animals in sensitive areas to the railways, power and forest departments, he said.

In an effort to tackle elephant-human conflict, the district authorities have been directed to form voluntary groups that can collaborate together to prevent damage caused by animals.

The World Wild Fund (WWF) has been engaged to train the Village Defence Party (VDP) to take measures to reduce human-elephant conflict, he said.

Anti Depredation Squads have also been set up in each district to prevent the conflict and each squad has been provided with equipment needed to deal with the situation.

Financial grants have been sanctioned for setting up watchtowers equipped with night vision devices, he said.

In Kaziranga National Park, sensor-based barriers have been set up to monitor and regulate the movement of animals, the minister said.

The district authorities have been also directed to use drones to monitor the movement of elephants while the power department has been asked to take measures to prevent the death of elephants due to electrocution, Suklabaidya added. PTI DG NN NN

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